Concreting the Base and Pillar
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The next phase was to complete the massive concrete pier needed to support the telescope mount. I wanted a design that would allow me to upgrade to an even more massive mount than my current G-11.

Click on any of the images below to see a larger version

Here we see the 1 cubic-meter hole for the foundations. Also shown is the steel reinforced cage which gives the concrete pillar it's strength. I had the steel rods and rings cut and bent by a local metal-bashing company, and these were wired together and braced into place ready to pour the concrete.

It was decided to pour the concrete in two stages: The first stage to ground level with a small circular step so that the forming tube could be located to prevent any concrete from escaping from the bottom of the pillar.

This is the end of stage one concreting. This was left to set overnight before the 18" former tube was fitted over the step and the second lot of concrete poured.

Here we see the former tube full of concrete with the bolt-template in place. These bolts are 6", 1/2" bolts that are set about 4.5" into the concrete. This template, made of MDF, worked extremely well as it enabled us to keep the bolts exactly vertical and exactly spaced.

Note that great care was taken to tamp the concrete down as the pillar was filled to remove any air pockets. The concrete was a strong 4 to 1 mix (4 parts sandy-ballast to 1 part cement).

Another view of the pillar just before the satisfying stage of ripping off the cardboard tube and cutting off the bolt-template.

Here we see the completed pillar.

Because the "Formacol" tube comes lined with shiny plastic, the resulting finish is as smooth as marble! Very sexy to touch!

I'd hate to have to take this pillar down - its very strong!

Note that this pillar will, eventually, protrude about a foot above the suspended floor of the observatory, and a steel tube will be made to bolt on to the pillar to bring the Losmandy G-11 up the the desired height. The bolts are arranged in a 12" diameter circle, and therefore should be able to support a very large mounting in the future.

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